Cracow enjoys a temperate climate with features of both western European maritime summer and more severe continental conditions of eastern European, crisp winters.
The weather in Cracow features distinct seasons, winter and summer. Spring and autumn are still apparent, but the weather at these times of the year merges between Cracow’s more obvious seasons, remaining generally much more short-lived.
The winters are extreme and the summers are wet, however the spring and famous Polish Autumns can be somewhat more enjoyable. The weather in Cracow can be fairly unpredictable, with some summer days reaching the mid twenties and others pouring with rain, so an umbrella is a necessity all year round when visiting Cracow.
Spring weather starts to pick up nearer to the end of March. Many tourists feel that May is the best time to visit, as not distinct to the ‘golden autumns’, the average daily sunlight is as high as it is in summer. If you prefer to escape from the crowds and visit the city when it is a little quieter, then late spring or early summer (mid-May and June) is a good time to consider, when the flowers are fresh and the climate is still warming up, with daytime temperatures averaging around 20°C / 68°F.
The summer months are Cracow’s wettest months, with July having an average rainfall amount of 110mm. The summer climate in Cracow is when the city is at its busiest and the very peak of the tourist season falls between July and August.
The late-summer/autumn climate in Cracow is also favorable and this brief season remains relatively mild, with heavy morning dew and mists, and attractive fall colors in the surrounding areas of countryside. However, by the end of October, the temperatures are beginning to drop sharply as the winter climate becomes imminent.
Poland is popular for their ‘golden autumns’ where mild weather, sunlight and drier days combine to make it the most popular time to visit. Rainfall in Cracow almost halves by September comparative at the height of summer. Temperatures stay, on average, around the early to mid teens throughout September and October, before dropping quite dramatically in November.
Winters in Cracow are long, severed and dark. The city averages a dreary 90 minutes of sunlight per day in the height of winter, and the temperature stays at or below freezing for much of November to February.
There is snowfall typically from December through to March which sees the city covered in snow around Christmas time. December and January are the coldest months in Cracow, with daytime temperatures of 1°C/34°F often feeling colder due to strong winter winds. However, the heavy snowfalls and the nearby mountains mean that the city is well placed for skiers.
Despite the reputable harsh winter weather, many feel that if you can handle the cold, Cracow is ideal to visit in the winter, as many of its historical tourist sites are much less busy and don’t rely on sunshine and warmth to make them enjoyable. You may feel that the snowfall and cold simply heightens the medieval, Gothic and the mystical experience of the city.